25 Ways to Reduce Stress

Stress can be one of the most emotionally and physically exhausting states to live with.

Chronic stress can take a toll on our relationships, career, and daily functioning, leaving us mentally and physically exhausted and unable to cope with everyday living.

When you start experiencing stress take a proactive approach by finding relief from everyday tension and fatigue.

Make stress management and emotional wellness a priority, and you will gain a greater sense of control and live a happier and healthier life.

Here are 25 ways to reduce your stress!

1. Do something you really enjoy.

Each day offers the chance to find joy and fulfillment if we can discover activities and hobbies that help us unwind and let loose. When you no longer find interest and enjoyment in what used to make you happy, this is very bad sign. Don’t let stress steal your joy.

2. Allow yourself time for quiet, privacy, and relaxation. We all need time for introspection and reflection. Make time for yourself away from the stressful events in your life.

3. Learn to forgive and accept the fact we live in an imperfect world. There are going to be people and experiences that upset you. The sooner you can accept this the quicker you can move on and bypass stress.

4. Do something kind for somebody else. It has been shown that committing acts of kindness can increase our level of happiness. Check out the 31 Days of Kindness manifesto to see how you can start showing kindness to others.

5. Disconnect your phone and computer. Take a break from the incessant mental activity of computers and cell phones. Instead take time to meditate, pray, and unwind from always being on the go.

6. Spend time with people who are uplifting, encouraging, and positive. People who believe in you and encourage your dreams can help you make it through tough times. If you’re friends are always discounting your dreams, get new friends.

7. Learn to say “no”. It can be hard to turn down a new opportunity, but learning to say “no” to extra projects, social engagements, and other activities you don’t have time for makes it possible to live a more balanced life, and really focus on what’s important.

8. Don’t procrastinate, put first things first. Procrastination is stressful. Get done today what needs to be done and don’t wait until the last minute. Figure out what’s most urgent and get this task completed.

9. Express your thoughts. We all need an outlet to work through our thoughts and feelings. Write, keep a journal, or talk with others about your thoughts and worries to get them off your chest.

10. Laugh more often. Laughter is a wonderful natural remedy to deal with stress and tension. Find ways to laugh by watching a funny movie and spending time with good humored people.

11. Use visualization to calm you mind. Sometimes we just need a break from the daily grind but don’t have time for a vacation. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, close your eyes and visualize yourself on the beach, in the mountains, or wherever you find nourishment and respite.

12. Use breathing exercises to relax. Breathe slowly and deeply in through the nose and out the mouth repeatedly to calm any emotional arousal. Apply this whenever you’re in a stressful situation and you need to slow your mental chatter and relax.

13. Give yourself permission to relax and be calm. Self-awareness about our personality and behavior is a major factor in managing stress. If you tend to always be on the go and have trouble relaxing, you might just need to give yourself permission and realize the strictures you place on yourself. If you have this “Type-A” personality make it a priority to relax.

14. Stop expecting and start accepting. Whether you expect the worst or the best realize that always expecting something to be a certain way leaves room for distress. Start expecting less and accepting when things don’t go as planned. As a good friend of mine says, “It is what it is.”

15. Reframe your thinking. Stress is often related to how we are thinking and interpreting things. How is your appraisal of a situation impacting  how you feel? Try to change your perspective by finding three different ways to view the situation.

16. Listen to uplifting and positive music. Listen to music that is soothing and helps to boost your mood. Music changes our physiology, so find music that has a positive impact on you, and dance along for an extra dose of stress reduction.

17. Don’t rely on your memory. If you have a lot going on, it might be helpful to write things down. This can really free up your mental energy to deal with things and stay organized.

18. Keep your health a priority. Get plenty of sleep and begin to exercise when you can. Feeling healthy is a major part of subjective well-being. Try to avoid caffeine and alcohol as solutions to stress as well.

19. Stay true to your morals. Don’t do something you’ll regret. When you feel guilty and ashamed it only leads to greater distress and worry.

20. Turn “needs” into preferences. Be conscious of your inner-dialogue. We often tell ourselves we “need” “should” and “have to” do something. Start thinking of things in terms of “preferences” and “wants” in order to relieve some pressure.

21. Change your environment. The place and situation you’re in has a big impact on how you feel. If there’s a conversation or interaction that bothers you, get out of the situation. Go get some fresh air or take a walk to collect your thoughts.

22. Get a pet. Having a pet can be very comforting. They offer us a chance to play, be active, and we can talk and confide in them knowing they won’t respond irrationally.

23. Drink chamomile tea. On the top of the list of fluids with a calming effect is chamomile tea. If you really need something to help you relax, this drink can bring on sleepiness and has a sedating effect.

24. Give yourself a foot massage. A general massage is nice, but if you don’t have someone to perform the duty, you can give yourself a foot massage. Just start on one foot and move to the next.

25. Call it a day. Sometimes we might have to let go of everything a just call it a day. Drop what you’re doing and relax. Take a nap or a bath, and let yourself forget about the demands of the day. Try to stay present and don’t worry about upcoming events.

Hopefully some of these steps offer an immediate solution to cope better with everyday problems and become emotionally stronger. If you’re still having trouble unwinding and relaxing you may want to seek professional help before you’re overwhelmed.

Don’t let your life become dark and crippled because you didn’t take action before it was too late. Find some techniques or support that can help you unlock the gateway to a calmer life.

Photo credit: Meagan